I see that a lot of CO2 laser cutters ship with orange-toned plastic windows.
Orange tint for blue lasers makes total sense to me. But for an infrared laser, I don’t see what the benefit could be. Given that clear glass and plastic absorb infrared so well that CO2 lasers engrave them, is there any value to tint? If there is, wouldn’t a blue tint be more likely to provide additional absorption?
It has been my assumption for Project #monocle that clear acrylic or polycarbonate would be fine for the lid window and be sufficient to handle any specular reflections, but I’d like to know ahead of time if I’m wrong!
(I still bought two pairs of CO2 laser rated safety glasses, of course!)
On my small laser it’s 1/8" acrylic, which is certainly plenty for a 35ish watt tube. Not sure what ships on bigger lasers, but it seems you might possibly want something a bit thicker for a larger safety factor?
Even half a millimeter is virtually opaque to both the primary 10.4µm and secondary 9.4µm bands. But if those two sources are making equivalent measurements, acrylic has lower transmittivity in the near IR bands which could be generated from the lased material burning, and so is probably better eye protection than PC.
For the laser itself, it looks like I’d be safe with clear acrylic, and probably clear PC.
However, under what conditions does the lased material generate plasma? If it does, I would expect it to also emit broad-spectrum UV.
Interested to hear your thoughts so far! If you name it, you can use a hashtag as a design and build log as I’ve been doing.
If I didn’t have floor space that happens to be a great fit for my current overall external size and gives me a little flexibility for odd jobs, I would have designed out from a bed size that I could buy easily.
I definitely think of my CNC router and upcoming laser as complementary.
Every commercial CO2 laser I know is equipped with clear or gray tinted acrylic. Orange tinted is best for UV diodes, as far a I know.
On our Lasersaur we have gray tinted acrylic and I’m happy about that, because the backflash when cutting can be very bright (white).
Hmm, gray tint and additional UV blocking… There are inexpensive static films to apply to windows for blocking UV which also have a fairly neutral gray tint. I could add that to transparent acrylic and it might be cheaper than tinted OP-3 which I’m not even sure where I could buy near me. The plexiglass would block the IR very effectively, and the plexiglass and UV film would block UV, and the neutral tint would reduce the glare from cutting.